HBO Discovers Roman Gonzalez

Excellent footwork, superb timing, accuracy and constant aggression: it’s a recipe for pugilistic success and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua has been utilizing it at the championship level for the better part of a decade. Despite this, it seems only hardcore fight fans have known of his having won world titles in three different weight divisions and his sterling 11-0 record in championship contests.

But that will all change tonight when HBO features him as the opening act for their Gennady Golovkin vs Willie Monroe broadcast. Nicaragua’s “Chocolatito” will defend his WBC flyweight title against Mexican Edgar Sosa, who at 35 is definitely past his prime. Despite this, Sosa should have enough left to allow Gonzalez to showcase his skills for the HBO audience.

The exposure is coming at the perfect time for Gonzalez. At 27, he likely can continue to compete at a peak level for several more years and truly significant bouts against Juan Francisco Estrada, Amnat Ruenroeng, and 2014’s Fighter of the Year, Naoya Inoue, could be in the offing.


In fact, a Gonzalez vs Inoue match has been talked about for months and there was even chatter on the internet that the bout had been signed for late 2015. This is easily one of the best matches to be made in the sport, so maybe HBO is getting set to make the most of their new association with Gonzalez. We can always hope, anyway. Tonight’s big time debut for the Nicaraguan certainly is a promising sign that maybe fight fans can look forward to such events in the near future.

In the meantime, let’s revisit Lee Wylie‘s take on ‘Chocolatito’ from last year. As Wylie wrote then: “Judging by the way … HBO and Showtime continue to ignore him, it’s almost unfathomable to conceive that Roman Gonzalez is inarguably the premier pressure fighter in the sport and maybe even the best offensive fighter, period.”

Well, they’re not ignoring him anymore. And millions will see Gonzalez in action tonight. Let’s hope both he and Sosa rise to the occasion.    — Robert Portis

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